Before her 12th birthday, Sydney Sierota formed a family band with her three brothers that played Rihanna and Rage Against the Machine covers at local festivals and Chick-fil-As near their home in Los Angeles. Before she was old enough to drive, she and her brothers sat across the table from an executive at Warner Bros. Records who offered them a deal on the spot.
Once signed with Warner, the band changed its name from Ready Set Go! to Echosmith and set about writing a new batch of songs. They’d always written songs with their father, Jeffery David, but for their debut, “Talking Dreams,” they also worked with outside songwriters such like MoZella, who co-wrote Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”
“We’re not the people who are saying we’re never going to write with other writers,” says Sierota, the band’s frontwoman. “Obviously, we’re never going to play a song that we didn’t write or didn’t have a significant part of. It always started with our ideas and our vision.”
“Talking Dreams” is pure alt-rock radio candy, packed with manicured synths and “We Are Young”-style chants custom made to reverberate against the back of a concrete wall during a radio festival.
Sierota, Sydney,now 17, says the lead single, “Cool Kids,” came together while she was still attending classes at her high school (she’s now home-schooled by her parents on the road). Listening to the lyrics — “I wish that I could be like the cool kids” — it’s hard to imagine them being written by a wallflower. If a record deal doesn’t score you cool points in the lunchroom, what does?
“It’s not like we were the kids who never had friends,” she says. “But, there is that struggle of wanting to fit in or be like other people, especially when you’re doing this. There are so many other girls, for example, who are singing and are beautiful and tall and model-like. And I’m 5 foot 3 and I’m not a model.”
Before embarking on its current tour of the U.S., the band wrapped a promotional tour that brought them to five different countries in seven days. All the while, Sierota is working toward getting her diploma in December. She says she balances the two well. It’s her brother Graham, 15, she says, who’s got it hard.
“When you’re a freshman in high school you have a lot to do,” she says. “A lot more than a senior does, that’s for sure.”
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 9, Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $18, all ages (206-628-3151 or showboxpresents.com)
Chris Kornelis is a Seattle-based writer and editor.